Yummy Chocolate Pudding

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Listen to Dr. Lisa Chirlian show Kathy the science behind making pudding!
- follow along with the steps below!

This is a project, not an experiment, because it can be eaten. Chocolate pudding is a tasty treat any time of the year. Most of the ingredients are similar to chocolate milk, but pudding is not a liquid like chocolate milk. Pudding is smooth and creamy, and it has a wonderful feeling in your mouth. Science can help explain why pudding is a thick, smooth and creamy treat. The ingredient that makes a mixture of milk and cocoa powder into pudding is…cornstarch! Yes cornstarch, a white, dry powdery substance is responsible for puddings marvelous texture. While starch is white and powdery when it is dry, it becomes clear and gelatinous when it is heated in liquid.

Starch is a carbohydrate, a long molecule made of many sugar molecules. Plants use starch for energy. In plants the long starch molecules are closely packed together in granules. When starch is heated, the granules absorb lots of water and the starch molecules are released creating a gel. The gel binds the other ingredients and creates the smooth, creamy texture of pudding. Do you prefer chocolate, vanilla or even butterscotch pudding? Regardless of flavor, starch thickens them all. Starch is also used to thicken gravies and is present in many packaged foods like cereals and baked goods. Starch has non-food applications including making paper and adhesives. Some people use starch when ironing clothing to help get sharp creases. Try this recipe at home. While the pudding is cooking observe how the texture and color of the mixture. Watch how it changes as the temperature of the solution increases. What else do you observe?

Yummy Chocolate Pudding

· 1/2 cup sugar
· 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
· 1/4 cup cornstarch
· 1/8 teaspoon salt
· 2 3/4 cups milk
· 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in the milk Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.